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RE: [teacherartexchange] Need to make a decision


From: Alix Peshette (apeshet_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue May 30 2006 - 18:57:51 PDT

I would suggest that you stay in the middle school where you will have
your own classroom. It's terribly exhausting to do art-on-a-cart!
Plus, you are never on your own turf. Also, when you have your own
room, you have much more control over supplies, student movement and
storage of art in progress - something that is very hard to control from
an art cart.

I know you are a first year teacher - and frankly, the first three years
are the hardest. By the time you hit the fourth year, you will have all
your projects worked out and will be able to refine, elaborate on them
and develop new curriculum.

Believe it or not, middle school kids are extremely loveable once they
understand that you are undisputed Empress of the Room. There are two
big secrets to middle school kids: 1) They desperately want to know if
you like them just for themselves. They know their parents "have" to
like them, but they aren't sure about other adults. To test this out,
they will do behaviors that they know are unacceptable at home, just to
see your reaction. Your reaction can be amused-disapproval, with a
verbal reiteration of what behavior you expect from them. They need to
hear your expectations about 1000 times in the first few weeks, then
only 100 times each week.

The second secret to middle school kids is their need for power over
something in their life. They have just realized that they are
powerless - and they hate it. Give them projects that have 'hooks' in
them that tickle and delight the teenage soul. They love food, money,
surrealism, things out of proportion, and anything that glorifies them
in some good way.

They also absolutely crave the knowledge of how to draw so that things
look real. This is where most kids stop with art - they can't make
things look real because they don't know proportion, scale, dimension
and shading. Research suggests that most adults draw at an eleven year
old level - because they stopped drawing once they felt ashamed that
their work didn't look real! Short drawing lessons using things that
they can destroy as they draw are always a hit. Start with foam cups;
let them tear chunks out and arrange a still life - then draw it.
Teaching realism in drawing works best (for me) in short chunks of time,
a couple times a week.

Stacie, sorry to be so long and preachy about this. I taught middle
school art for 18 years. The first three years were a living hell. Now
I adore that age group! Now I work with adult learners in technology in
my district and while I love my new position, I do miss the interaction
with the kids!

Technology Training Specialist
18 years of middle school and still sane!!

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 6:09 PM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: [teacherartexchange] Need to make a decision

First off, I'd like to thank everyone on this list for all of their
wonderful advice and lessons this past year. It helped me tremendously
my first year of teaching. I plan on getting some of my lessons
with photos to share with you all this summer.

So, I made it. I survived my first year of teaching. It definitely was
biggest challenge I've taken on, besides running a marathon, in my life.

Actually, it was much tougher than the marathon, but I survived both. I
exhausted and have been cleaning out my room all day. At the end, I
said goodbye to
a few teary eyed students, received some sweet gifts and cards and felt
relief at the departure of others. I had my art show last week, which
was a
terrible decision...never again will I do one the last week of school.
Last week
was such a whirlwind and nightmare that I don't even know what happened.
never had time to stop, never had a chance to take a moment to reflect
or to say
proper goodbyes to some of the students I actually will miss. It went
over 200 pieces of art. I tried so hard to make it perfect, and there
was not enough time. It did look beautiful though. I only wish I had
had the
time to enjoy it.

So, now I am faced with a tough decision for next year. I have been
that I need to decide on elementary or middle school for next year. I
leaning toward elementary after realizing that those students appreciate
me so
much more than the older ones. They actually look forward to my class,
and I
found out that I was able to teach them more. They had a general
interest in
art and even learning about artists. Well, here's the catch. If I take

elementary, I lose my room. I'll be on a cart traveling from room to
room. Many
rooms don't have sinks, so that will definitely limit my projects. If I
middle, I get to keep my room, but I will have to deal with all of those
attitudes and the students who don't want to take my class. I'm really
torn. I'm
trying to figure out which will be a better situation for me in the end.
course, I'm going to put out my resume just in case another opportunity
up, but I'm feeling pretty low. I don't want to give up my room. I
hate the
thought of having to share it with another teacher. It's already so
small, and
I like to set it up and have my art library and play my music...but I
don't know if I can learn how to deal with the middle schoolers in a
effective manner next year. They are so disrespectful and have no
desire to
learn. About five of them failed my class, and I had to really work at
five others. Many of them failed the entire year because they have no
whatsoever. I'm torn! What would you do?

Thanks again,

Stacie d'Albenas

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